A billionaire behind Moderna is set to reap the benefits of a 3000 per cent gain after yet another of his rogue bets on a pharmaceutical company paid off.
Noubar Afeyan became a billionaire after backing Moderna, the underdog firm that became a household name after developing one of the first Covid-19 vaccines.
He’s now preparing to add to his estimated A$2.1 billion fortune after yet another unexpected bet octupled in value.
Sigilon Therapeutics, a biotech firm that specialises in non-viral engineered cell-based therapies for diseases such as diabetes, saw its stock price soar more than eightfold to US$27 (A$40) on Thursday after pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly agreed to buy it.
Funds of Afeyan’s venture capital firm, Flagship Pioneering, own 31.9 per cent of Sigilon, according to the company’s latest proxy filing.
Historical trades indicate Sigilon is yet another of Afeyan’s remarkably well-placed bets.
Just last month, the company was at risk of being delisted because its shares were priced so low. It underwent a one-for-13 reverse stock split — meaning the number of existing shares were consolidated into fewer, proportionally more valuable shares — which boosted its value just enough to satisfy the minimum price requirement for continued listing on Nasdaq.
Eli Lilly, a major provider of diabetes drugs and insulin, owned a nearly 8.44 per cent stake in Sigilon as of March 27 and has now offered to buy the lot, giving it access to Sigilon’s signature diabetes-management products.